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Syria's Saleh Mohammad wins first Games gold

2010-12-10 10:24:00 OCA


Saleh Mohammad from Syria wins first Games gold in Muscat 2010.

09 Dec 2010, Muscat, Oman: Saleh Mohammad had the last word at the 2008 Asian Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia – and the first word at the 2010 Asian Beach Games in Muscat! The 24-year-old Syrian swimmer was named Samsung MVP of the inaugural Beach Games two years ago after winning both the 5km and 10km marathon swimming titles.

At the Barr Al Jissah bay in Qantab on Thursday morning, Mohammad won the first gold of the Muscat Beach Games by defending his 5km open water crown.

“It’s a beautiful feeling,” said Mohammad, as he was mobbed by delirious supporters from the Syrian Olympic Committee. “It feels even better than two years ago because the competition this time was stronger. It is easy to win the title, but difficult to retain it.”

Mohammad won in 1 hour, 14.4 seconds, ahead of China’s Xu Wenchao. Pan Kai-Wen of Chinese Taipei was third.

Mohammad has incredible stamina for his slight frame, standing 1.70 metres and weighing just 50kg. He trains for six hours a day in the sea, with three-hour sessions in the morning and afternoon, and works out in the gym to build up his strength.

One of the proud support team was Dr. Maher Khayata, Vice President of the Syrian NOC and General Sports Federation.

“I am very happy that we can take the gold medal,” he said. “I hope that our participating athletes make like our golden swimmer Saleh Mohammad in their competitions.

“Every time you win is a nice feeling, but especially in this competition because it needs a lot of strength to beat many good swimmers from China and other countries. We really appreciate what our Syrian athlete has done. He is a very kind boy, trains seriously, always respects his technical officer and works very hard.”

Saleh Mohammad will be seeking a double “golden double” in the 10km swim on Saturday, December 11.

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